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SRQ DAILY Jun 5, 2020

Friday Weekend Edition

Friday Weekend Edition

"Our collections are a big deal, but safety for our guests always comes first."

- Cherie Knudson, Ringling Head of Security

[Museums Reopening]  An Unsung Hero of The Ringling Reopening
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

Museums have the kind of steadfast inertia often reserved for geographical features like mountains or rivers, seeming to exist outside of time and human intervention as though they were formed and then left alone to carry on forever in pristine condition. The galleries of The Ringling, for example, can be browsed daily for a year without a visitor ever noticing so much as a fleck of dust tarnishing the floors of its vast galleries. But that level of stalwart consistency takes effort, and at The Ringling, even with its galleries empty of foot traffic for over two months, the behind-the-scenes work to maintain and reconfigure its amenities carried on under the leadership of Cherie Knudson, head of security.

Knudson is no stranger to managing the safety and order of sprawling, diverse assets. She worked as head of security at Endicott College in Massachusetts and Barry University in Florida before securing a job at The Ringling. Her duties in those roles often revolved around early morning calls about intoxicated students. “I don’t miss those,” she says in her New England accent. While she might still get the occasional call about a college student wandering onto the grounds, her job now sees her focus on the security of the priceless art in the galleries and the safety of the senior demographic that comprise a large percentage of The Ringling’s visitors. “We have a lot of medical considerations to be prepared for,” she says, “things like diabetes and heart issues, medication issues, slip and falls.” And that facet of her job has become enlarged by the preparations undertaken for reopening amidst the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Even though we were closed to visitors, we were still working nonstop to prepare for reopening,” says Knudson. Her team, which, like her, all feel a strong sense of ownership and pride in their duties at the museum, helped the grounds crew perform the deep cleaning and social distancing accommodations so central to the museum’s reopening. Plexiglass partitions were installed at all kiosks, hand sanitizing stations were installed throughout the grounds, and personnel had to be trained to ensure social distancing was honored. That was on top of the regular guard patrols and monitoring of the interior conditions to ensure the artwork’s longevity. “Our collections are a big deal,” says Knudson, “but safety for our guests always comes first.”

The museum has now reopened to visitors and, though the sight of plexiglass barriers, face masks and social distancing floor markings might seem like unwelcomed intrusions to some, the museum still feels very much like the permanent feature it has been for decades. “It’s the longest time in our history we’ve ever been closed,” says Executive Director Steven High, “but Cherie runs a really tight ship and we’re looking forward to earning people’s trust again.” The museum strongly encourages visitors to wear masks and recommends tickets be purchased online for contact-free check-in. The museum has also introduced “Being Seen,” a photography exhibition that explores issues of identity and gender. 

Photo courtesy of The Ringling.

Click for hours.

[Environment]  Larger Than Average ‘Dead Zone’ Expected for Gulf of Mexico

NOAA scientists are forecasting this summer’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic area or “dead zone” – an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life – to be approximately 6,700 square miles, larger than the long-term average measured size of 5,387 square miles but substantially less than the record of 8,776 square miles set in 2017. The annual prediction is based on U.S. Geological Survey river-flow and nutrient data.

The annual Gulf of Mexico dead zone is primarily caused by excess nutrient pollution from human activities in urban and agricultural areas throughout the Mississippi River watershed. When the excess nutrients reach the Gulf, they stimulate an overgrowth of algae, which eventually die and decompose, depleting oxygen as they sink to the bottom. The resulting low oxygen levels near the bottom of the Gulf cannot support most marine life. Fish, shrimp and crabs often swim out of the area, but animals that are unable to swim or move away are stressed or killed by the low oxygen. The Gulf of Mexico dead zone occurs every summer.

“Not only does the dead zone hurt marine life, but it also harms commercial and recreational fisheries and the communities they support,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “The annual dead zone makes large areas unavailable for species that depend on them for their survival and places continued strain on the region’s living resources and coastal economies.”

A major factor contributing to this year’s above-average hypoxic zone are the high river flows and nutrient loads delivered to the Gulf this spring, primarily from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers. In May 2020, discharge in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers was about 30% above the long-term average between 1980 and 2019. The USGS estimates that this larger-than average river discharge carried 136,000 metric tons of nitrate and 21,400 metric tons of phosphorus into the Gulf of Mexico in May alone. These nitrate loads were about 2% above the long-term average, and phosphorus loads were about 25% above the long-term average.

The USGS operates more than 3,000 real-time stream gauges, 50 real-time nitrate sensors, and 35 long-term monitoring sites to measure nutrients in rivers throughout the Mississippi-Atchafalaya watershed. Data from these networks are used to track long-term changes in nutrient inputs to the Gulf and to help build models of nutrient sources and hotspots within the watershed.

"The annually recurring Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone is primarily caused by excess nutrient pollution occurring throughout the Mississippi River watershed," said Don Cline, associate director for the USGS Water Resources Mission Area. “Information on where these sources contribute nutrients across the watershed can help guide management approaches in the Gulf.” 

Pictured: The Mississippi River watershed encompasses over 40% of the continental U.S and crosses 22 state boundaries. Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in runoff and discharges from agricultural and urban areas are the major contributors to the annual su

Click for the Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and hypoxia assessment background

[Produce]  Mixon Fruit Farms' First Harvest of Organic Bamboo

"We are the first in the country, to plant and harvest the bamboo, according to OnlyMoso" says Janet Mixon.  Harvesting will happen every seven to 10 days, according to OnlyMoso representatives.  They harvested 100 pounds of bamboo this week to fulfill an order from a local restaurant—the bamboo is known to be rich in vitamins.  The next harvest on order will be around 250 pounds with an increase in orders week to week. Mixon Farms has hosted at least 250 farmers interested in the concept of planting bamboo on their property.  The large bamboo will be harvested in a couple years for clothing , flooring and diverse set of bamboo products. "Our first interest in growing bamboo was because of the health benefits," says Janet Mixon. "It goes along with the nutritional value of citrus." 

[Manufacturing]  Nationwide Protective Coating Manufacturers Inc. Announces New Product Lineup

Nationwide Protective Coating Manufacturers Inc., has developed a new product lineup for 2020. Our PERMAPRODUCTS Line, consisting of Acrylic Elastomeric, Insulating Ceramic, Waterproofing Protective Roof Coating Systems designed for any roof. This includes our improved PERMAKOTE® Roof Coating, SHINGLE SEALER™ for shingle roofs as well as our All New PERMAGLAZE™ Tile Roof Sealer. The PERMAPRODUCT Lineup, including our Elastomeric Roof Coatings and Caulks, as well as Clear and Semi-Transparent Sealers providing superior reflectivity, mildew resistance, energy saving and soundproofing. These outstanding products have both transferable and renewable warranties ranging from 7-20 years, are available in beautiful finishes and custom colors and are ready for contractors and home owners alike.

Nationwide Coating’s PERMAPRODUCT Line unique formulas allow for significant Energy Savings. According to EnergyStar.gov, having a white, reflective roof surface can reduce the roofs surface temperature up to 100F, significantly decreasing the amount of heat transferred into the building and reducing peak hour cooling demands. Typically, our elastomeric coatings are cooler than the air temperature in direct sunlight. Higher reflectivity = lower energy consumption and lower cooling costs. PERMAPRODUCTS Roofing Systems are easier to install and maintain than conventional tear off roof installations, and also eliminate unnecessary construction waste. This means such projects generally cost a fraction of the price of a new roof installation. PERMAPRODUCTS unique Ceramic Insulation was made available with the discovery by NASA proving that a thin layer of ceramics, as used on the Space Shuttle, protects the astronauts from the fiery inferno encountered upon re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. The PERMAPRODUCTS range of products integrates a blend of ceramic borosilicate’s and various ceramic fillers that, when combined, form a true ceramic insulator. 

Click for more info.

[Giving Back]  U.S. Military on the Move Program Changes Lives Locally

Brad Nichols was on his fourth tour of active duty in Afghanistan when he was wounded. On his return to the States, Brad and his wife Heather talked about a lifelong dream: to own their own home. They wanted an oasis for their four children, ages 11 to 17. At the time, they were renting in Lakewood Ranch and owning their own home seemed to be a reach – then they met Tammy Pogar of Wagner Realty. “Meeting Tammy was life changing for us,” notes Heather, adding “Tammy had the real estate knowledge and expertise we were looking for and we immediately “clicked”.

Wagner Realty’s is a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, which developed the U.S. Military on the Move® (MOM) program.  The MOM Program offers cash rewards, closing cost credits and other real estate related services for active duty, retired (20 years of service) militaryorwounded warriors, when they buy or sell a home.  “The Military On The Move is very special to me, since both my son and my little brother are in the military” notes Tammy adding “being a military mom and sister makes me especially appreciative of our veterans and the sacrifices they make serving our country.”

“Wagner Realty has more than 30 agents who have completed the MOM Program’s comprehensive training, designed to help them better serve the specific needs of those who serve our country,” notes Carla Ross, Wagner Realty’s Relocation Director. “Our agents understand the process and hurdles military members face during transition and know how to help smooth the process. 

“Brad and Heather never thought they’d be able to own their own home,” said Tammy, “but with a wonderful combination of our U.S. Military on the Move® program, supportive sellers and a wonderful selling agent, we were able to make the Nichols family’s dream of home ownership come true. TheMOM program gave them cash back at closing to help them afford essentials, and the sellers paid their first year’s HOA fees. The other agent and I helped with closing costs.” The Nichols family is now happily settled into their Palmetto home. 

If you or someone you know is interested in the U.S. Military on the Move Program, please contact Carla   Ross, Wagner Realty Relocation Director. Carla can be reached by calling 941.727.2800 or by email at relo@wagnerrealty.com. 

Pictured: The Nichols family.

Click for more.

[Re-Openings]  Manatee County Resumes Many In-Person Services Suspended During Quarantine

On Monday, June 8, Manatee County Government will reopen some public buildings and services that were closed or suspended in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The Manatee County Administration Building will reopen for regular business hours, 8 am – 5 pm. The Building and Development Services Department offices will reopen for normal business hours, 8 am–4 pm, and online permitting services remain available.

The public is encouraged to continue to do business with the County online and over the phone when possible. Face masks will be required in common areas of the Admin Building.

Face masks will also be required inside Manatee County Public Libraries. Downtown Central Library reopens Monday and other branches open Tuesday. Each branch will close one hour earlier than customary hours and each branch will have capacity restrictions. Library visitors are asked to wear a mask, limit their time in the building, keep a safe distance from others inside and to stay home if they're feeling sick.

Manatee County's public athletic fields will open June 8 for team practice and June 15 for competitive play. G.T. Bray Recreation Center will remain temporarily closed.

Manatee County Public Works Building will reopen June 8 with social distancing restrictions. The Public Safety Center will remain closed temporarily.

Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) will increase bus service beginning Saturday June 6: the AMI Trolley will resume 20-minute service along Gulf Drive, including regularly scheduled evening service. The Longboat Key Shuttle will return to normal operations after being out of service since late-March.

County Administrator Cheri Coryea announced the latest reopening plans today, speaking to County Commissioners during a land use meeting. The plan was announced after Coryea and Public Safety Director Jacob Saur relayed updated statistics that show about 5 percent of all Manatee County residents have been tested for COVID-19. In addition, 90 percent have recovered and currently the positive test rate is about 5.4 percent, right in line with the Florida average for positive percentages.

"Local conditions have improved greatly compared to just three weeks ago," Coryea said. "We are moving ahead with guidelines allowed under the Governor's Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step plan to reopen Florida."

However, the reopening plans came with a reminder from Director Saur that the coronavirus is still "very present" in Manatee County. Administrator Coryea said the County will continue to stress the importance of doing work with the County online and over the phone.

"The public at large needs to continue to practice social distancing," she said. "We will continue to emphasize the importance of wearing a face mask and following CDC guidelines. We're asking our visitors to bring their own face mask which is a way of being considerate and protecting others." 

Click for more info.

[Re-Openings]  Motorworks Brewing Beer Garden and Taproom Now Open

After numerous renovations and additions to every face of their operations including extending and leveling the Beer Garden deck, installing a new water filtration system in the brewhouse and giving the taproom a facelist, Motorworks Brewery is now open. They share appreciation with the Florida Brewer's Guilt and the Manatee Chamber of Commerce for working to push this through. In accordance with all government mandated rules and CDC guidelines, Motorworks will be implementing indoor serve at 50%, tables set six feet apart, no single tables with more than 10 people, no congregating at the bar or outside, the provision of hand sanitation stations around the brewery and continuous sanitation on all services both inside and out. Online ordering for pick up/to go beer still available. 

[WBTT]  WBTT Extends Online Family-Friendly Show Rockin Down Fairytale Lane

While the stage in Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s brand-new theater building remains dark due to COVID-19, the show will go on(line) – again – in late May. In an effort to lift spirits as well as generate critically-needed revenue, WBTT is proud to continue to offer entertainment options virtually, with the family-friendly musical, “Rockin’ Down Fairytale Lane.” The show will be available online from May 26 through June 21.

 The cast includes a number of WBTT favorites, including Ariel Blue, Ashley D. Brooks, Earley Dean, Cherise James, Henry Washington and young phenom Samuel “Sammy” Waite. Talented dancers Derric Gobourne, Jr., Joshua Thompson and Topaz von Wood are featured as well. Musical director/co-arranger and bass player is James “Jay” Dodge II; other musicians include Todd Bellamy on piano, Tanmart Selby on auxiliary Keys, and Trevoris Scott on drums.

The purchase of access to the streaming video of “Rockin’ Down Fairytale Lane” will help WBTT in this difficult time when its theater is closed and it faces up to $50,000 per week in lost ticket revenues. Access to the show online costs $15 per household (including $2 processing fee).

"We are fortunate that, during these trying times, our virtual platform enables us to spread happiness, share our work and generate much-needed funds to support our organization," said WBTT's Executive Director Julie Leach. 

“At a time when many people are still staying at home and we truly have no idea when we’ll be able to perform for live audiences again, we are happy to have this opportunity to entertain and share some much-needed smiles and toe-tapping songs with the community," adds Founder Nate Jacobs. 

[Non-Profit]  TREE Foundation Goes Virtual with Summer Interns

The Sarasota-based TREE Foundation has hired three summer research interns from Williams College. The three interns have received scholarships from the college to enable them to take internships with TREE to work virtually on a variety of research projects for the international non-profit foundation which is dedicated to tree and forest research, exploration, education, and conservation. A fourth intern from the University of Southern California has also been hired by TREE to work in a research capacity. TREE Executive Director Dr. Meg Lowman will work with, advise and guide the students through weekly Zoom calls during their eight-week intern programs, which began in June.

Lilia Robinowitz is a Williams College sophomore studying Art History and Studio Art with a concentration in Environmental Studies. Her internship will focus on environmental education messaging for tropical forests, and compiling research on sloths for the foundation.

Eva Castagna is a Williams College sophomore studying Biology. During her internship, she will encapsulate important research on canopy walkways around the world and create an updated global map of canopy walkways which will be showcased within signage at the base of the Myakka River State Park canopy walkway, created by the TREE Foundation in 1999.

Evan Wright, a junior at Williams College majoring in Environmental Studies, will work with the TREE Foundation's Advocacy committee, creating a survey of national and international non-governmental organizations that focus on rainforest conservation.

University of Southern California undergrad Merry Moore will work on data analyses of citizen science biodiversity data from TREE's Amazon and Australian canopy walkway sites, working toward publication. She will also create an online summary of insect-plant interactions in forest canopies. 

Learn more about the TREE Foundation and its mission to save the forests of planet Earth at TreeFoundation.org

[Town Hall Event]  The Montessori Foundation Hosts Virtual Town Hall On Ending Systematic Racism

The International Montessori Council (IMC) and the Montessori Foundation are hosting a weekly, virtual Montessori Town Hall on the topic of "Standing Together —Our Role in Ending Systematic and Internal Racism" starting today, June 5th, at 3pm EST. The IMC and Montessori Foundation are committed to advancing world peace, equity, inclusion, and diversity.  Both organizations recognize and acknowledge the internal work we all must do. To that end, they are forming a social justice task force that will address and act on: the inner work of every Montessori teacher, parent, and leader to root out unconscious habits of prejudicial thinking and ideologies, a social justice curriculum and the instructional changes we must bring into every prepared environment and teacher education program, changing our schools’ culture, communications, hiring, and professional development practices and norms, to be more equitable, diverse, and inclusive. Click the link below to register and join via Zoom. 

Click here to register.

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SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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